Chelsea are contemplating a move to re-sign Nemanja Matic. The 24-year-old Serbian international spent two unsuccessful seasons in west London before joining Benfica in 2011. Ironically, it was his performance against the Blues, in the final of the Europa League, which led to speculation Jose Mourinho could move for the midfielder.
According to the Metro, Benfica are believed to be reluctant to lose Matic, meaning, Roman Abramovich may have to trigger the £42m release clause in the player's contract. A cheaper option, however, could be Roma and Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi, for whom the English club have reportedly bid £10m.
However, the Europa League champions will face competition, with the Metro believing Mourinho's former club, Real Madrid are ready to bring Matic to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Matic enjoyed a reasonably good 2012/13 season, making 13 starts in European competition (Champions League and Europa League) and scoring three times in the Primeira Liga.
Chelsea and Benfica are understood to share a good relationship, with David Luiz moving from the Portuguese club to the English at the same time as Matic joined Benfica. Another Brazilian midfielder, Ramires, was also the subject of a transfer between the clubs.
The Serbian, if he comes to the Premier League club, will likely be replacement for Nigerian international John Obi Mikel, who has admitted interest in joining Turkish giants Galatasaray.
The Blues' midfield will be further strengthened by Michael Essien's return to form. The Ghana international struggled to reproduce his superb early performances for Chelsea after knee problems two years ago. However, he was loaned to Madrid last season, where he appeared to regain confidence and form under Mourinho... and with the two re-united at Stamford Bridge again this season he could yet play a major part in this campaign.
Chelsea will have to fight off Madrid though. The nine-time European champions are slowly rebuilding after a troubled 2012/13 season and have a new coach in Carlo Ancelotti. Club president Florentino Perez has already confirmed the £23m transfer of Malaga playmaker Isco, as well as the return of former Castilla right-back Daniel Carvajal.
In addition, talkSPORT has linked Premier League champions Manchester United and Serie A winners Juventus.
Meanwhile, Matic has revealed delight at interest from Chelsea and Mourinho but insists he wants to stay for another year in Portugal.
"Of course, someone like Jose Mourinho wanting me to go back to London would be an opportunity to prove I can play in the Premier League, but I want to achieve more at Benfica. Frankly, I want to stay another year in Lisbon," Matic explained.